The current Bayern Munich manager has become England’s most wanted after announcing the termination of his time with the German outfit at the end of the season. The Premier League’s biggest clubs are all chasing him in an attempt to grab the world’s number one boss. However, for a race that should be highly contested, there’s only really one team in it and that’s Manchester City.
Possibly the most attractive factor in City’s attempt to claim Pep Guardiola’s managerial genius, is his relationship with current executives, Begiristain and Soriano. The former Barcelona manager worked closely with the two in the early stages of his time with the Catalan club and the relationship proved to be a great success. So much so, close friend Albert Ferrer admitted he believed this would be the greatest lure for Pep Guardiola.
It’s common knowledge that Pep also believes very strongly in the support and strength in working relationships with club administration and the board and given both Manchester United’s and Chelsea’s recent shake-ups, Manchester City offers a more stable, as well as familiar set-up.
Begiristain, Manchester City’s current Director of Football, was the man responsible for bringing Pep to Barcelona during his time as the Sporting Director. At the time, it was a bold and brave move to appoint the less experienced Pep Guardiola ahead of Jose Mourinho. But after Frank Rijkaard’s sacking in 2008, it was Pep who was preferred by Begiristain and his directors, Ferrain Soriano and Marc Ingla. The move paid off and Pep returned the Directors’ trust, winning the treble in his first season and going on to become the most successful manager in Barcelona’s history.
Both Begiristain and Guardiola were part of the Johan Cruyff-led dream team which won the European Cup in 1992 so enjoy a friendship from their playing days as well as a past professional relationship. Soriano also formed part of the Directors team at Barcelona and was crucial in bringing Pep to the club. He left the club shortly afterwards in 2008 but was re-united with Begiristain at Manchester City two years later.
The faith and trust given to Pep Guardiola by the executive duo proved vital to the success of the Catalan club and it may prove to be one of the best things the Directors bring to Manchester if the manager is lured to the Etihad in the same fashion he was in 2008.
Perhaps Manchester United have recognised their rival club have the upper hand because it’s strongly understood that the Reds won’t challenge City, fearing they have already been beaten to Guardiola’s employment. It’s a sign of City’s strength and rapid growth in European football that England’s most successful club in history seem out of favour in the race for the greatest manager. And with one of the Premier League’s giants seemingly out of the contest, Manchester City only seem more appropriate.
Guardiola is known for his careful job selections and he rarely considers a role which would tarnish his reputation in any way. He likes support from the board, complete control and freedom on strategy and long-term planning. Whereas Manchester United could’ve been an option on that front, even they in recent months have become a club seemingly losing faith and trust in their managers. Chelsea, under Roman Abramovich, have become ruthless, going through more managers in the last decade than renowned strikers. The latter would certainly be something that would put Pep off hugely.
It’s clear he won’t accept a challenge that would shame his name – and why should he? Barcelona and Bayern Munich were careful choices, ones that gave him a great chance of success. If there was ever a more important choice in his career, one he should take great consideration over, it’d be this one.
The Premier League is an exciting but ruthless league and has seen managers shine and fall quicker than Ronaldo surpassing Raul’s record. For a safe employment, Manchester City offers much more stability than Chelsea and even Manchester United. At City, Guardiola would be given time, freedom, money and support from the beginning.
As well as stability from the board, Guardiola inherits traits at Manchester City which have helped shaped his identity as a coach in the footballing world. Players like Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Samir Nasri and Raheem Sterling epitomise the philosophy and style of football Pep implements to great success.
City are a squad already capable of competing for the Premier League title and have presence in Europe. The expectations of the fans are lower than that of Chelsea and Manchester United fans and therefore Guardiola would accept a challenge with a healthy amount of support and resources already available.
All-in-all, Manchester City tick most of the boxes on Pep’s priority list, with his relationship with Begiristain and Soriano being the greatest factor. City’s “ageing” squad may be a slight concern but there’s still plenty of talent and youth. The lure of working in England’s capital city may tempt Guardiola to consider working in London under Roman Abramovitch at Chelsea but many believe that would be a risk too great for the Bayern Munich man. The only question remains is whether or not Manchester City have become a big enough club to beat the world to his signature.
If they do, there can be no question that Manchester City are now amongst Europe’s elite – and they would prove that under Guardiola.